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Newest Member: 39Robbo

Reconciliation :
Remorseful partner.

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 Squish (original poster new member #79546) posted at 1:07 PM on Saturday, January 1st, 2022

We are out 6 months from DDay. My WH had a long term A. He stoped the a same day and told me he wanted me and the children he was sorry etc etc....

He is trying, I know he feels guilt and is doing what he knows to do to take care of me although I don’t think I see remorse plus he blames our situation at the time (arguing) for the A.

Please can you tell me what remorse looks like? What did you see in your partner that showed you they had great remorse?

For any WS how do you suggest I explain to him that that’s where he needs to be for us?

I have finally realized with help that he is not there but doesn’t also know how to get to that place. He doesn’t really ever talk about his feelings and we are both learning to face our own.

I was looking at counseling but we can’t afford it right now. Any advice is appreciated.

Thank you

posts: 22   ·   registered: Nov. 1st, 2021
id 8706883
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jb3199 ( member #27673) posted at 2:00 PM on Saturday, January 1st, 2022

Please can you tell me what remorse looks like? What did you see in your partner that showed you they had great remorse?

The easy answer separating regret from remorse:

Regret: All about them
Remorse: All about you

I wish there was an easy answer to detect remorse. It's easy to detect acts of remorse, but remorse....in my opinion....require (2) major factors: consistent actions over TIME, and a large display of EMPATHY. Without these two, my definition of remorse doesn't exist. And to make matters even more difficult, we the betrayed are looking for remorse SO BADLY from our partners, that we trick ourselves into seeing it where it really isn't. We play mind games to constantly be on the lookout for it, when in reality, remorse can't be forced; they will obtain it.....or not.

Squish, I know this: I thought my wife was remorseful when looking back, my gut was telling me that she wasn't. She would claim that she was taking full ownership of her actions, but, like you, I could still feel things that a remorseful person wouldn't have. Underlying resentment(s) was definitely an issue in my situation. Your WH's excuse of arguing in the marriage is another. With remorse, I mean REAL remorse, these don't exist. Contrition is involved. There is not even a whiff of excuse 'rationale', but instead a pain inside them....that you can actually FEEL....that they carry for the pain that they have caused you. It really is palpable.

The other brutal part of this, again in my opinion, is that (1) remorse takes time, (2) they may never have any, and (3) you have no control over it. So, knowing that we do not get do-overs in life, we have to ask ourselves "How long are we willing to wait to see if our partner will find remorse?" And that is definitely an individual question.

BH-50s
WW-50s
2 boys
Married 28yrs.(together over 30yrs.)

All work and no play has just cost me my wife--Gary Puckett
D-Day(s): Enough
Accepting that I can/may end this marriage 7/2/14

posts: 3898   ·   registered: Feb. 21st, 2010   ·   location: northeast
id 8706890
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 6:40 PM on Saturday, January 1st, 2022

Check out https://www.survivinginfidelity.com/topics/586809/beyond-regret-and-remorse/, which I just bumped.

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

posts: 26518   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8706918
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ISurvivedSoFar ( Guide #56915) posted at 7:19 PM on Saturday, January 1st, 2022

Hi Squish - the suggested post from sisoon is terrific. When you have the chance please do take the time to read it.

It is true that we often mistake regret with remorse. I recall vividly my WS feeling really badly and it never made me feel better. In time I came to see his actions as regretful in that he was feeling sorry for himself, that his life had changed in terms of our relationship and he wanted it to be back to what it was before. That isn't remorse. That's him wanting to run away from himself and what he had done. I figured it out over the longer term when he'd start to blame me and get aggravated that I couldn't just "let it go". You see my sadness reminded him daily of the impact of his horrible behavior towards me.

That is just not remorse.

You will see this article talks about a remorseful person being able to accept what they've done, willing to make amends for their actions, and mostly working hard to change their character so it doesn't happen again. And the motivation to change has got to come from within - because wanting to do it for someone else never works.

Your WS should want to change and the reason for the change should be that he is fed up with the characteristics he possesses that allowed him to do this to you. He should understand the gravity of his behavior and be determined to not allow it again.

This takes a long time - not just a few months unfortunately. It is a process and that process means getting to the core of oneself and their reasons. Your WS should be in IC consistently in order to get to the core of his issues.

People told me I'd know it when I see it. That is so true. If your gut is telling you don't see it, you don't. The article will help you articulate specifically the items you can see that will be signs of remorse.

DDay Nov '16
Me: BS, a.k.a. MommaDom, Him: WS
2 DD's: one adult, one teen,1 DS: adult
Surviving means we promise ourselves we will get to the point where we can receive love and give love again.

posts: 2727   ·   registered: Jan. 15th, 2017
id 8706922
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landclark ( member #70659) posted at 11:57 PM on Saturday, January 1st, 2022

As an example, my WH when I try to discuss feelings or questions related to his actions, will decide whether or not he feels it’s a good time to "fight". He says he’s remorseful, but to me that screams otherwise (and yes, I put a stop to that real quick). At 6 months out I had trouble distinguishing between the two though. It wasn’t until more recently that I see things more clearly.

So I would say you know the difference in your gut and in his actions. Trust that. Also jb3 summed it up nicely. Regret is about them, remorse is about you. There’s a huge difference. The fact that he still places blame on the marriage means he’s nowhere near remorse. Words don’t mean anything on the surface. I swear they run by a script. Read and see between the lines.

Unfortunately you can’t force it or guide them to remorse. They have to get there on their own and some (probably most) never do. Then it’s up to us as betrayed to decide if we can accept that.

Me: BW Him: WH (GuiltAndShame) Dday 05/19/19 TT through August
One child together, 3 stepchildrenTogether 13.5 years, married 12.5

First EA 4 months into marriage. Last ended 05/19/19. *ETA, contd an ea after dday for 2 yrs.

posts: 1948   ·   registered: May. 29th, 2019
id 8706958
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Ariopolis ( member #75786) posted at 1:56 AM on Sunday, January 2nd, 2022

A remorseful person says "I'm sorry I hurt you".

A person feeling guilt says "stop making me feel bad for what I did".

A remorseful person will always see the thing they did to be a bad thing, not to be repeated.

A person feeling only guilt sees the pain (that they inflicted) of the person and feels judgement

and condemnation and feels so sorry for themselves.

They also feel anger towards the person they wronged for showing them the pain they caused.

A remorseful person will not want do the harmful act again.

The person feeling only guilt may revisit the harmful situation in an attempt to alleviate the guilt or in believing the bad action was only harmful in certain situations and at certain times and not others.

What worries me about your situation is the length of the A and the fact it stopped and started so many times. Your WH not only needs to show a great deal of remorse to you, and it should be abundant and unmistakable, but he should also have gone through a bit of withdrawal in those first few months.

It may have been a relief to come clean, sure, many waywards report that, but was it A-OK with his AP to be dumped so unceremoniously?

If your WH is holding back the remorse he owes you, I hope it's not because he is weighing the pain his fAP is in and decided the scales of pain are even because, after all, he stayed with you and fAP "lost" him.

posts: 167   ·   registered: Nov. 2nd, 2020
id 8706969
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CaptainRogers ( member #57127) posted at 2:11 AM on Sunday, January 2nd, 2022

As someone who has watched this dance play out for the past 5 years, for some people, remorse isn't easy to come by.

I have seen my wife's regret on display over and over and over.

I wish I hadn't made those bad choices.

I wish I had handled everything better.

I'm sorry that it has been so difficult.

Are you upset? Is it something I did?

We're 5 years out and there have been flashes of empathy (putting me first), but those have been few and far between.

Last night is a prime example. It is A-season. She started all her physical stuff with the AP from Dec 24 to Jan 5. We are smack dab in the middle of it all. Last night, she looked at me and asked "Did I do something wrong?" (Because she could clearly see that I was bothered).

"Nothing new."

"OK."

***** 5 minutes later *****

"Is it from the past?"

"Yes."

[she starts to tear up...I think it's because she is sorrowful that it still hurts 5 years later]

"I've finally figured out why I get so anxious when I try to read your face. I'm afraid that you're mad and are going to yell at me again."

[Me...with a blank stare...then goes back to reading...because it is STILL all about her...]

That is quintessential regret. All about her, no empathy towards me. Later, there was the rote response of being sorry that I was still bothered by her bad choices (with the connotation that I should "be over it" as an undertone.


I have been told many times, both by posters here and by counseling professionals that it is wholly possible (likely?) that she simply has no ability to be empathetic.

To me, that says that she will never likely have remorse. So, the question I have to answer daily is whether I can live with that.

BS: 42 on D-day
WW: 43 on D-day
Together since '89; still working on what tomorrow will bring.
D-Day v1.0: Jan '17; EA
D-day v2.0: Mar '18; no, it was physical

posts: 3091   ·   registered: Jan. 27th, 2017   ·   location: The Rockies
id 8706970
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 5:11 PM on Sunday, January 2nd, 2022

Onlytime really did a great job with 'beyond remorse and regret.'

I'm writing again to say that actions are more important than words. My W started acting remorseful on d-day - she stopped lying, took responsibility, began to honor my autonomy, went MC, etc., etc., etc. She says, however, that she didn't begin to feel remorse for at least 5 months. She didn't see her A as just another A for 5 months.

In her case the actions led to the thoughts and feelings that made her remorseful/contrite.

I've been at this for 11 years. The thing that strikes me about our case is this: I started with the premises that my W couldn't do much to heal me and nothing could make up for what W took from me and from us. If R was in the cards, we were starting anew, in a real sense, though the bonds of 45 years together were also real. I thought from the first session with W's IC-as-MC (on d-day) that the best way to R was for my W to work on herself.

Her own shit enabled her to cheat. The best way to stop the enabling was for her to own her shit and to flush it away.

Now, 'acts of service' was her 'love language', so her doing things for me WAS important to R. But the Acts of Service were done to show her love for me, not to heal me, since Acts of Service is pretty low on my list of love languages.

What do your WS's acts of service mean to you? What is your H doing to change from cheater to good partner? (Most WSes need the help of a good IC.)

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

posts: 26518   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8707019
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 Squish (original poster new member #79546) posted at 6:45 PM on Sunday, January 2nd, 2022

Sisoon thank you and everyone else for your thoughts on this. It all makes sense and the article Onlytime quoted was very helpful to me. I know my husband feels regret. He apologizes to me often when he sees I am down.

He has become more present and gentle. Something I have truly missed. He is more attentive to me. Maybe though I am learning that this is from regret and trying to make amends from what he knows.

I’m finding that I am not telling him everything I’m feeling because I’m so exhausted of being this hurt. To hold some of it in and letting it go gives me a break.... I have to say I feel so shit. Sorry for the language. My gut is so tangled and I feel so broken and hurt.

I will ask him to read it. What does one look for in a GOOD IC?

😞

My WH acts of service mean so much to me. But I wonder if they are sincere. I just don’t know what is real anymore.

posts: 22   ·   registered: Nov. 1st, 2021
id 8707026
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sisoon ( Moderator #31240) posted at 4:27 PM on Monday, January 3rd, 2022

Another good read for your H is https://survivinginfidelity.com/topics/324250/things-that-every-ws-needs-to-know/.

fBH (me) - on d-day: 66, Married 43, together 45, same sex ap
DDay - 12/22/2010
Recover'd and R'ed
You don't have to like your boundaries. You just have to set and enforce them.

posts: 26518   ·   registered: Feb. 18th, 2011   ·   location: Illinois
id 8707143
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gmc94 ( Guide #62810) posted at 9:01 AM on Tuesday, January 4th, 2022

I think you've been given some good guidelines about regret v remorse. And much as I hate to say it, you can show your WS all the articles in the world about it, but unless/until the WS is taking their own initiative to figure some of this out, there's a pretty good possibility it will fall on deaf ears (or blind eyes). You can lead the old horse to water, but you cannot make them drink.

You may want to explore some Brene Brown and shame - shame is a part of guilt/regret and is like kryptonite to remorse (again, shame is all "about" the WS and not at all about the BS - it says I am a bad person, rather than I did a bad thing). Dr. Brown and her research not only helped me to better understand some of what my WH my be experiencing (ie helped me find empathy for HIM), it also (and IMO more importantly) helped me look at my own shame, my own self talk that did not include compassion and love, etc. She also has some great stuff about parenting, about finding ways to put our own feelings aside and just LISTEN and try to be empathetic with anyone. To find space for SOMEONE ELSE's feelings, even if that's pain or anger directed at us. I can't tell you how much I wish I'd have had a clue about that when my kids were younger - to just hold them when they feel crummy rather than trying to fix it or talk them out of their feelings or explain all the "reasons" I made X or Y or Z choice that hurt them (even if it was for their own good in the long run, most folks - esp kids - don't really want or need to hear that when trying to express/process their feelings).

As to the acts of service. It's funny, but my WH is ALL about acts of service. But when we took the love languages quiz in year 1, it was like #4 on his love language list (and same on mine). And Brene Brown helped me on that front as well, when I read her stuff about "hustling for our worth". IOW, my WH is someone who has spent a lifetime of CoD and hustling for his worth. Lots of KISA with about any woman he's known. A "who am I if I'm not the guy helping my family, my community, etc." He does not seem capable of seeing (let alone changing) the ways in which all those acts of service are not necessarily healthy for him (and often for the folks he's purportedly "helping" when it's really enabling).

So, I bring this up bc I spent nearly 30 years thinking his acts of service were a way to show his love for me. And for some folks that's accurate. Unfortunately, for my WH, it's not "about" me at all - it's really 100% "about" him and his self worth. That was kind of a light bulb moment for me. As I was able to emotionally detach, his acts of service became less & less important to me. Not to say I don't appreciate his "good deeds", because I do appreciate them. AND I know that they are not necessary for MY happiness or MY joy or anything. They are more like a substitute for the things I REALLY need - like honesty, and empathy, and communication and emotional intimacy..... kind of like eating candy when what we REALLY need is a chicken breast & broccoli - may feel nice at the time (hey, THANK YOU for that snickers), but it's not what really sustains us and helps us feel emotionally connected and full. IME, when infidelity is in the mix, it's super easy for a BS (esp a new BS) to see those acts of service as the WS "trying" or even "changing". And I suppose in some instances (depending on the history - ie for someone who never did jack for the BS) it may be. However, I suspect that it's much more likely to be a way of them trying to "do" something that makes them feel better about themselves, but it's not the REAL, down & dirty work. Think about it - would you rather add a few loads of laundry to your week, feel awesome for doing it, get an atta girl from your family and buzz along in life OR go to IC, talk about your deepest, innermost fears, take a long hard look at the ugliness of your actions, figure how what is inside of you that made it OK to live a secret sexual life, etc. and then working (and it ain't easy) to change? Personally, if I thought I could get away with it and reap the same benefits, I'd choose laundry every damn time. The thing is, most BS get pretty clear pretty quick that the laundry ain't gonna cut it. Even when we don't want to face that, we somehow manage to know in our gut that laundry, or flowers, or a nice dinner out is like giving us a snickers when we haven't had a decent meal in weeks (or maybe years).

M >25yrs/grown kids
DD1 1994 ONS prostitute
DD2 2018 exGF1 10+yrEA & 10yrPA... + exGF2 EA forever & "made out" 2017
9/18 WH hung himself- died but revived

It's rude to say "I love you" with a mouthful of lies

posts: 3619   ·   registered: Feb. 22nd, 2018
id 8707293
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Thumos ( member #69668) posted at 4:52 PM on Tuesday, January 4th, 2022

For any WS how do you suggest I explain to him that that’s where he needs to be for us?

Here's the problem, and I say this gently: I did this a lot with my WW. For the first three years after D-Day. Then I finally erupted in a series of ultimatums, and she failed a polygraph at year 3.

I can only report my own experience, but the fallout of having to constantly explain to your spouse, giving them a reading list, holding their hand, keep asking for a timeline, ask them to take a polygraph etc is permanently damaging.

Because, see, here's the deal: They do understand. They aren't stupid. They do get it. They just don't want to do it.

I'm still married, on paper, but I don't consider myself spiritually married to my wife. Not at all. I genuinely like her as a person (I mean, of course, that's why I married her and why I stayed in a quarter century marriage with her in the first place). We're highly compatible. I'm physically attracted to her, even as I struggle with that cognitive dissonance many betrayed husbands report of also being repulsed by her sexual choices.

I love her as the mother of my beautiful children, and have gratitude toward her for gifting me with these blessings.

But I'm not IN LOVE with her, and I really can't say how long we will stay married "on paper." Right now, I'm sticking it out for a variety of reasons, including my kids (and this is a very legit reason, by the way).

The constant discussions and reading assignments and so on are a big part of that lost love for me. Along with, of course, the footdragging and trickle truth and failing a polygraph. And the gaslighting and cruelty that attended the sexual infidelity (a violation so fundamental it's hard to really wrap my mind around it even now five years later).

I suppose remorse is kinda like the Supreme Court's definition of pornography: You know it when you see it.

Does it walk like a duck and quack like a duck? Well, then it's probably remorse. Does it walk like an elephant? Have a trunk? Well, it's probably not remorse.

You're not seeing remorse. And you know that. Without remorse, reconciliation is impossible. Full stop.

The fact that you're having to twist yourself into pretzel knots to explain fundamentals to your husband (and I can only assume he's at least a moderately intelligent person) is insulting to you. It feels like a further violation. You feel slimed or perhaps further resentment even, I would warrant.

Of course you would. Of course you should.

And you know this too, which is why you're asking about it here.

[This message edited by Thumos at 5:07 PM, Tuesday, January 4th]

"True character is revealed in the choices a human being makes under pressure. The greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation, the truer the choice to the character's essential nature."

BH: 50, WW: 49 Wed: Feb.'96 DDAY1: 12.20.16 DDAY2: 12.23.19

posts: 4528   ·   registered: Feb. 5th, 2019   ·   location: UNITED STATES
id 8707353
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